Notable Cast: Keir Gilchrist, Stella Maeve, Maestro Harrell, Peter Stormare, Grace Phillips
Despite being released by IFC Midnight originally and then getting a joint home video release by IFC Midnight and Scream Factory, Dark Summer seemed to be just another ‘haunted house’ flick for teens based on the trailer and media being spread for the film. If it wasn’t for its immediate release on Netflix Streaming then I probably wouldn’t have been bothered to dig into the film until much later. For the most part, Dark Summer is exactly as one would expect: a slow burn, teen angst driven, haunted house film. For the most part. Luckily, the film is ignited with a fun third act that damn near saves the entire film from being too cliché. It’s a little too late in many regards, but it does raise of the quality of the film somewhat.
Daniel (Gilchrist) is a young man with a few problems. After being convicted for stalking and invasion of privacy charges against a girl in his school, he’s throw under house arrest for the summer with limited visitations and forbidden to use a computer. When strange things start to happen in his house though, his two friends (Maeve, Harrell) are going to have to help him discover just what is stalking him now.
|Seven years. SEVEN YEARS.|
However…and this is a huge however…the third act makes most of the generic plot progressions, character interactions, and cliché atmospheric touches worth it. It’s not quite enough to simply forgive what the audience had to sit through, but holy shit did Dark Summer try. Not to give too much away plot wise as the surprise of this third act is a big part of the fun, but there are a handful of twists that make paying attention worth your time. There is even a sequence where the twist requires some flashbacks to make sure the audience understands where the twist came from. Normally, I dislike flashbacks as a sort of crutch that films use to create false dynamics, but here it’s almost necessary because the twist works so well that I’m not sure I would have been able to put it together without a bit of a reminder of the events that happened previously. Again, it doesn’t necessarily erase the rather yawn inducing approach to the first two-thirds, but it’s impressive at what it pulls off.
|The eyes are the windows to the soul...OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL?!|